NATD Exam Session

It was good to be back dancing again and finally we managed to hold our NATD exam session yesterday which we had intended to do in December 2020 but which naturally had to be postponed. Our last exams took place in December 2019 and who knew how the world was about to change when we did that?

The session was not quite the same as normal, those who did not have a partner in the same household had to perform on their own with Louise and I dancing alongside, and those who did have a partner danced together. Nevertheless everyone rose to the occasion, coping extremely well with the situation and doing a fantastic job in spite of the many obstacles that we have encountered along the way.

It also gave everyone an opportunity to put our dance clothes and dresses on again, (which in some cases may have “shrunk” since they last saw the light of day!) do hair and make up and generally remember what it used to be like. It was great to see how everyone responded to the situation and hopefully reminded us all of the joy of dancing.

Of course Boris was on hand to support everyone and he was delighted to see what you had all achieved, he thought you were all amazing. He is hoping it won’t be too much longer now before events are permitted and he can be reunited with his bear chums. Colin too was excited especially with the Latin, to see if his isolation demonstrations had had the desired effect!

The examiner was highly complimentary, remarking how well everyone had done and was impressed by the high standard achieved. We are proud of you all and thank you for your continued support and dedication over this difficult period. Let’s hope the worst is now behind us and we can look forward to a brighter future.

A Christmas Message

2020 will be remembered as one of the most difficult and challenging year’s for everyone.

It started well with our usual round of qualifying events at Kettering,
Castleford and West Park and we also had a fabulous turnout for our own competition in March. The Medal Presentation dance was also a highlight with some excellent performances by our younger dancers. Little did we know what was around the corner and all of that now seems a lifetime ago.

At the end of March of course, like everyone else we entered lockdown and were not able to open for four months. Nevertheless, some of you managed to enjoy dancing in different ways through our videos and Zoom (who knew what that was before March?)

Fortunately we were able to open again in July, almost to the day when we officially opened our new studio only a year before. It was great to see so many of you return and although things were different, everyone adapted really well especially those of you who have had to get used to dancing solo, which is no easy task, and you will no doubt be better dancers for the experience.

We would like to thank you all for the dedication, resiliance and loyalty you have shown throughout this period and we hope that we will be able to gradually return to some form of normality in the New Year.

Of course Boris won’t be able to visit Bearmuda during the break but will be enjoying a quiet Christmas at home this year.

We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year. Let’s hope 2021 turns out to be an improvement on this year!

Robert, Louise and Boris

Welcome Back!

It has been four months since we had to close but last week, one year to the day when we had the official opening of the new studio, we were back in action. Of course it is not quite the same as before and we have to get used to some new procedures but at least it is a start.

It was heartening to see that so many of you were keen to get back into action again and if we haven’t managed to contact you yet then we will be doing so over the next few weeks, or of course feel free to get in touch with us.

Boris was, of course on hand to welcome everyone back and was pleased to see you all since it may be some while before we get to go to an event. I am sure he will have be “Zooming” with all his bear chums to keep in touch, but if they wish to send a photo and a goodwill message we will post them on the blog.

Dance with Boris

We hope you are all managing to keep safe and well.

Boris hopes that you have been joining in with the last set of videos we sent and thank you to those who sent messages of support and to tell us how you enjoyed dancing along and found them helpful.

Here is how Ruth and Julie managed to dance along “separately but together” with Louise to Windscreen Wipers.

We thought you might be ready for something new to keep you occupied and so have sent a few more video links for you to join in with. We hope you find them useful in helping to stay active. We will leave the Waltz routines in place so you can also keep referring back to them as well.

Take care, keep calm and carry on dancing!

Keeping in Touch

We hope that you and your families are remaining well and staying healthy. With week three of lockdown well underway and the prospect of more to come it’s important to try to keep active both mentally and physically.

With this in mind Louise and I recorded some video clips which many of you have watched already and hopefully joined in with. We hope to do some more going forward but please keep referring back to the existing ones, they were made to be “environmentally friendly” that is, to used more than once!

If you haven’t had the email with the links then please check your spam folder and if it’s not there please let us know and we’ll resend it to you. Keep us informed about how you’re getting on with them and maybe send a photo of yourself in action and we’ll post it on the blog.

Boris has also been kept very busy with the nationwide “bear hunt” although he is a bit disappointed that he hasn’t had many passers by yet.

Take care all and we’ll hope to see you again soon.

Robert, Louise and Boris

ISTD Sequence Qualifier

We had hardly returned from our break than the team were once again in action. It was the ISTD Sequence Qualifier and Inventive Dance Competition. This is an event which is nice and local for us and although the turnout is often small it does offer a good opportunity for those not already qualified to qualify. In addition it also gives those who have qualified the chance to have some valuable match practice which cannot be gained other than on the competition floor.

With recent events we were expecting a poor turnout, especially with the age profile of many of the regular attendees. We were pleasantly surprised therefore that there was in the end a good audience who don’t normally get to see the medallist competitors in action anywhere else and are very appreciative of seeing some good dancing.

We had a good turnout from the team today and all those who needed to obtained those valuable qualifying slots. Today’s winners were Chloe, Ellie, Isobel, Grace P, Charlotte B, Serena, Andrew and Debbie. Well done to everyone and a big thank you to all who supported the event in these troubled times.

As always we need to thank all our partners, Luke, Liam, Ruth, Grace, Emily and Craig and also Jean and Julie for their assistance during the day. We can’t do it without you.

We were also introduced to the new poster girl (and boy) of the ISTD, Grace and Josh. Next stop Vogue perhaps!

With things as they are it may be some time before we get the chance to go out again but we will keep you informed as we receive information ourselves.

In the meantime it is our intention to remain open, in some form, for the time being and we will communicate our intentions separately as soon as we have more information and the situation is a little clearer.

Poetry in Motion

We were up with the larks and this was the start of the Dancesteps event on the first of March. 

Excited voices and dancing feet, the sound of music with a hip-notic beat.

Pinning numbers, brushing shoes, every dancer hoping to win or improve.  

Louise on the stage, running the event, with calm and expert confidence.

Andrew and Julie sit by her side, doing their part with Louise as a guide.

Preparing to partner were Robert and Ruth, Liam and Luke, making up part of a bigger dance troupe.

Bags of energy was required for this endeavour but I have no doubt it provided them with just as much pleasure.

The little ones first, Oh what a joy! They show such promise those little girls and boys.

Then you could have knocked me down with a feather when Crayg and Robert danced beautifully together.

The sequence section is my favourite thing (along with the make-up, the hair, and the bling!)

Some new partnerships here which were totally inspired and a place in the final we all desired.

Then when we came to the Latin events my breath was taken away by the shining performances of the Paso Doble.

The support of the school is second to none and I personally feel cannot be outdone.

When we dance on the floor those shouts and those cheers are wonderful music to our ears.

Last but not least I must mention Boris. With his little bearfriends (not bare friends), they presided all day and stayed right till the end when it was all packed away.

Whilst writing this gives me time to reflect, I also hope there is a clue or two you might get.

I am proud to be part of the Duesbury Aldred Dance Family and I think this poem may reveal something about me. Now I am wondering if anyone out there knows who I might be.

ANON.

Dancesteps Competition 2020

It was twelve years ago when we ran our first Dancesteps competition and yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the first “Individuals Competition”, traditionally held in March. I wonder how many of you were at those early events, certainly there were a few of you.

This is certainly the one which always goes in Boris’s diary first as he not only gets to meet all his chums, some of whom don’t get to come out every time, he also gets to sit on the stage and gets a good view of everyone’s progress.

We couldn’t have asked for a much better turnout from the school and there were some first timers with us today who will hopefully want to repeat the experience. They all did extremely well so congratulations to: Peter, Scarlett, Irina, Lydia and Leanne. Furthermore Scarlett went on to win two of her events whilst Leanne reached her ballroom final. Evie was dancing at this event for the first time, although she had done one competition previously and must have been delighted to have won two of her events.

There were many personal bests achieved today; for some it was getting a recall, going a round further than previously or making a final and for others it was just about making it round the floor without a trauma. No doubt our “Mystery Blogger” will share some of their personal recollections from the day so watch this space.

The role of honour is lengthy but alongside Scarlett and Evie there were wins today for: Kaitlyn, Tabatha, Chloe, Grace S, Olivia, Chris, Peter, Craig, Paul, Carla, Grace P, Karen, Ashton, Paige and Serena and many of those won two or more of their events. In the couples events there were wins for: Paige & Grace S, Josh & Grace P, Paul & Karen and Chloe & Tabatha and again some of these were multiple winners. Finally the all important adult and child events were won by Craig & Chloe and Josh & Paige.

A huge thank you is owed to all our helpers that make the day possible. Jean and Maria on the door, Andrew on the music, Julie for scrutineering, Joan for collecting the judges tickets and our raffle ticket sellers without compare, Rob and Debbie. All the teachers; Luke, Ruth and Liam for their unstinting and selfless support. Those who are now growing into their roles as partners alongside competing themselves, giving others the opportunity to share in the experience: Grace P, Josh, Craig, Emily, Karly, Karen, Paul, Olivia, Serena and Jack. It was a fantastic team effort.

Don’t forget to look out for the report from our Mystery Blogger!

Dennis No Menace!

It was going to take more than Storm Dennis to prevent our intrepid team of dancers from attending the ISTD qualifier at Castleford, especially since it was the last opportunity to qualify for the ballroom and Latin events. For some there was much work to be done to gain the all important qualifying slips whilst others could relax a little more in the knowledge that they had already qualified at Kettering.

The children as always were first to take to the floor and it was good to welcome back the Stanley family into the team once more. Boris was especially keen to catch up with some of his cousins again as it had been such a long time since he had last seen them.

With all of the children needing to qualify in some of their events everyone needed to be on top of their game and so it proved to be with everyone making both their ballroom and Latin finals and Chloe, Grace S and Paige all making the sequence finals as well. There were first places for Isobel (winning both her ballroom and Latin events), Paige and Chloe. Paige and Grace S also managed to win both of their couples events. A great start to the day then and one which laid down the challenge to the adults.

The adult sequence came first and these are always the toughest events here. Nevertheless Grace P and Josh both made their final finishing third and fourth whilst it was first second and third for Paul, Karen and Chris in the over 35 years section. In the over 50 years category Andrew, Carol, Dawn, Allison and Peter all made the final with Andrew continuing his winning form from Kettering.

The ballroom and Latin events followed and whilst numbers were down there was still some qualifying to be done and pleasingly everyone who needed to managed to secure their place at Blackpool. There were wins today for Jack, Peter, Grace P, Hazel, Paul, Allison, Josh, Karen, Andrew, Olivia, Carol with double wins being recorded by Grace P, Hazel, Paul, Allison, Karen and Andrew.

The couples followed and the winning form continued with Craig and Emma, Peter and Carol, Andrew and Dawn in the ballroom and then Jack and Olivia, Peter and Carol and Andrew and Dawn in the Latin.

There is a little more work to be done for some in the sequence events in order to qualify but with the events in March and June this should be achievable for everyone. Of course as always we must thank our teachers, partners and those who partner each other who are always ready and willing to step up to the mark and come along to events and lessons to practise both on the day and beforehand: Liam, Ruth, Grace P, Josh, Emily, and Craig.

Next of course we have our own event on March 1st and this gives those who want to have a go at a competition the chance to dip their toe in the water for the first time. Whilst it is a competition of course the main aim is to have an enjoyable day out with like minded friends and we have a few new faces who will be coming along this year to join in for the first time so make sure you are there!

Medal Presentation and Social Afternoon

One of the highlights of the year for many people is the medal presentation social dance at the George Spencer Academy. Over one hundred dancers together with their family and friends joined in for an afternoon of dancing and fun, in a relaxed environment. It was a chance to get together and renew acquaintances with other like minded people who we may not see at other events.

As usual the children gave a lovely display to show what they have been working on recently, partnered as always by the younger adults, many of whom themselves started with us at a young age. 

The younger adults then treated us to a demonstration based on Classical and Sequence dances set to music from Les Miserables, which was extremely well received by the audience. Many remarked that it was one of their favourite numbers. The routine was quite challenging this time and the participants only had about six weeks in which to learn it therefore doing incredibly well. We also had to contend with injuries and absences for various reasons which meant that we only had the opportunity for two rehearsals with a full team. Well done to everyone who took part.

The school award this year proved to be a difficult choice as we had two couples who had both been winning their respective sequence events all year culminating in wins at the British Sequence Championships in October. On this occasion we therefore decided it was right to make two school award presentations so congratulations to Craig and Emma and Neil and Carla for your hard work, dedication and success.

Boris was pleased to see some of his cousins in attendance and he says that he always looks forward to this event not least because of the delicious cakes provided by the FroGS. 

Our next couple of events are the ISTD qualifier at Castleford where there is some work to be done, for some people, in order to qualify for Grand Finals in November and then following this on 1st of March will be our own competition at Kirkby in Ashfield. This is a good opportunity for first timers and non regular competitors to dip their toe in the water and is usually a friendly and fun event. Make sure that you don’t miss out.